Flinders medical scientist Associate Professor Damien Keating (pictured) is the winner of the inaugural Leading Light Award from the Australian Society for Medical Research (SA).
The award has been instituted to recognise mid-career health and medical researchers, with the aim of highlighting the outstanding research work being undertaken in South Australia.
After selection from a field of entrants, the three finalists made presentations and answered questions on their work and careers in front of a judging panel.
Associate Professor Keating, a holder of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship and head of the Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Laboratory at Flinders, is involved in continuing research into the underlying molecular mechanisms in communication between neurones and the regulating role of certain proteins in the release of hormones and neurotransmitters.
Associate Professor Keating said he was honoured to win the first Leading Light Award, which carries a prize of $1000, but could not claim sole credit.
“Scientific research occurs within teams and so this is a significant reward to my entire research group,” Associate Professor Keating said.
“While of course we believe that our ideas are good and that our research goals are worthwhile, it is fantastic to have that validated by our peers.”
Associate Professor Keating was winner of an SA Tall Poppy of Science Award in 2010, and has published 28 scientific research papers.
As well as increasing fundamental knowledge of cell communication, the research has the potential to increase understanding of neurodegenerative diseases including Down Syndrome, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and diabetes.